Have you ever played a video game and wondered—wow, is this even possible? Sometimes, we’re just so into the game that the implausible doesn’t register. But what if you were a scientist and you knew the rules of physics and biology? Would those inconsistencies niggle at the back of your brain?
During “Bad Science in Video Games” in the Hyatt’s Centennial I ballroom at 11:30AM Friday, astrophysicist Erin McDonald, biologist Eric Spanna, and physicist Stephen Granade admitted that, at time, they’ve all fallen subject to the niggle.
In his first example, Spanna talks about several things that puzzled him in Fallout 4, such as:
- In only two hundred years since the nuclear fallout, how could evolution have leaped so far into the realm of weird? He says that’s a “crazy short time” to see that level of change.
- Also, how the hell does a two-headed cow come of the birth canal? (Ow)
- The one thing he may have found plausible? Giant roaches. In the absence of predators and with the ability to eat anything, including a nuclear fallout burger, unchecked growth could be a possibility.
Grenade, on the other hand, had serious reservations about the “time powers” in Quantum Break. It seems that time doesn’t really work the way the game developers had envisioned. One of the main things we would see with the distortion of time (as explored in the game) is a corresponding disruption of space. The protagonist would experience gravitational anomalies not depicted in the on screen action. Oh, and according to Grenade, “chronons” are definitely not a thing.
McDonald steps up to the plate next and declares in an amused voice that Alien Invasion has a few flaws in its radar logic, such as—it doesn’t work that way. For example, radar emits a signal that bounces back to the sensor instrument—which would be incredibly difficult in a metal room with metal desks and metal chairs. But two things she really wants to know:
- How does the radar only zero in on the aliens?
- Are aliens deaf? How can they not hear the constant radar ping?
Of course, the trio (and audience members) detail inconsistencies in several other games, but the real moral of the panel?
Be careful clicking that pre-order button.